Hey, everyone! I’m Namitha over @teenmemoir and today I’m going to be doing a guest post on Katie’s blog all about How I Write Book Reviews. Click here to check out Katie’s post on how she bookstagrams! She seriously posts the best pictures and I’m in love with her Instagram feed! Working with Katie was honestly so much fun and I hope to collab with her more in the future!
Tips/Things to Remember
Have an outline: Before you start writing, have an idea of what exactly you want to say in your review. Think and organize your thoughts. For example; Make a list of the things you liked/hated most in the book. Ask yourself questions like “What stood out to me the most?” or “What could have been better?” Then, try to group them under categories such as plot, characters, writing, pros, cons, etc. Next, outline your review. Do you want it to be a long write up? Do you want it to be in bullets? What do you want to say in each paragraph/category? Basically, find an outline that works best for you. I’ll be talking about my outline further ahead of this post.
Avoid summarizing: By this, I don’t mean you shouldn’t include a summary at all. Sometimes providing a summary of the novel can be beneficial to the readers. It can help in understanding the theme of the novel in a much better way. However, some reviewers tend to include a lengthy account of the events that happened in the novel and I really don’t see the point in that. The whole point of a book review is to make the reader read/not read the book, so why break the whole story down for them?
Spoil with care: Again, I don’t mean you shouldn’t incorporate a few spoilers into your review. Just make sure to include a “SPOILER ALERT” or a “SPOILERY DISCUSSION” wherever necessary. Sometimes, though, reviewers accidentally reveal a little too much than intended without realizing that it is a spoiler. Reviewers may think that they are just giving more information, but this can be a little dangerous. While you’re proofreading, I suggest that you ask yourself if you wouldn’t mind knowing this particular information before reading the book. That way, it’ll make you think if you’re spoiling your readers or not.
Make it crisp: I think it’s fair to establish the fact that we, reviewers, think way more about these books than we mention in our reviews. It’s just impossible to fit everything into one review. True story; my book review for The Upside of Unrequited was almost 2 ½ pages long! An important thing that you should remember is to make your review crisp and straight to the point. You need to remember that you are writing this review for others to read and judge and that you need to make it interesting for them. While proofreading, try to put yourself in the shoes of a reader and edit the parts that seem dragged or unnecessary.
Add quotes: This tip may seem needless, but using quotes from the book that you are reviewing can make your review much more interesting! Quotes are pretty much self-explanatory and make the readers know exactly what kind of book it is without giving too much away. Personally, I haven’t used quotes for all of my book reviews, but the difference is pretty evident.
“Good quotes make a good review” Lol.
Be honest: Writing a book review is all about being honest. However, being honest while reviewing an ARC becomes a little difficult. The first ever ARC I reviewed (Paper Hearts) was an okay read for me, but I felt obligated to give a good rating as they were one of the first publishers to approve my request. After a lot of thinking I decided to be honest and straightforward. I thoroughly explained the things that I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy. I ended up giving it 3.5 stars. I believe that you should be grateful for receiving an ARC and thank the publisher, but that shouldn’t stop you from being honest.
Introductory paragraph: There are certain things that I include in this paragraph: start/finish date, a short gist of what the book is about, things I liked in a nutshell and basically whether I enjoyed the book or not.
Second paragraph/Writing style: While writing about the writing style I mainly keep two things in mind: its descriptiveness and authenticity. Don’t worry! It’s not as complicated as it sounds like! When I talk of descriptiveness I mean how the author described things, what words he/she used, whether his/her writing flew and whether it was hard/easy to imagine what he/she was trying to describe. By authenticity I mean whether the author has described the plot/character in an authentic way. Whether the character’s emotions/thoughts/actions seemed genuine and raw or not.
Third paragraph/Plot: In this paragraph, I talk about how interesting the plot seemed to me. Is it unique? Does it try to make a difference? Is it slow/fast paced? What was the intent of the author when he/she created the plot? Was the plot executed in an efficient manner? These are some of the questions that I explore.
Fourth paragraph/Characters: I usually talk about the protagonists of the novel here. I write about their characteristics and how it contemplated the plot of the novel. I also write about character building and development and whether it was/wasn’t organized throughout the novel.
Concluding paragraph/Overall + Rating: In the last paragraph, I add a few words that describe this novel in whole and rate it. I also explain the reasons for my particular rating. I end the review by mentioning whether I would/wouldn’t recommend this book.
Other bloggers’ outlines:
Nerd in New York
Distinctive feature(s): I love the way she categorizes her review into plot, characters, writing style and final rating. I also like how she talks about the pros and cons of the plot and organizes her thoughts into bullet points.
Krysti YA and Wine
Distinctive feature(s): The wine pairing is such a cool concept! Basically, she pairs a wine that corresponds to the theme of the particular novel that she reviewed! Sometimes she also includes aesthetics that remind her of the book!
Teacher of YA
Distinctive feature(s): Along with the review and rating, Stephanie also mentions whether this book is classroom appropriate and has a separate rating system for that feature! So cool, right?! Along with that, she talks about how age appropriate it is and how this book could be included in the school curriculum.
As you can see, there are a ton of different ways you can review! You can also be creative and add unique things of your own! There’s no one perfect format.
Thanks so much for reading guys! Hope you took something out from my post today!
Have a great day!